Chris Andrews (Left) Buys Lottery Ticket From Capitol Market Clerk Ron Starry
Take Chance? Many Eager
By Dan McLeister
(News Staff Reporter)
All types of people became small-time gamblers in all types of places here yesterday for all types of reasons.
Young and old, male and female, rich and poor.
In a gas station, a food store, a restaurant, a party store and in a snack shop.
Sales for state lottery tickets were heavy in all these places yesterday, the first time Michigan moved into the gambling business.
Fifty cents was all you needed to buy “The Chance of a Lifetime,” as the Bureau of State Lottery put in bold black print at the top of an information leaflet.
“I’d rather pay taxes this way. It’s good for the state of Michigan,” said one man in his 30s who described himself as a working man. “I think it’s great,” said the man, who bought two tickets and said he planned to do the same each week.
Most people bought from one to four tickets here yesterday, a survey by The News indicated. Some bought 20. The highest single purchase reported was 40 by a male customer at a Kroger food store.
Approximately 800 tickets were reported sold at the Capitol Market. The snack shop at the County Building sold approximately 500. About the same number were sold by Westgate Shell gas station. Weber’s reported selling 300 and expected that figure to improve during the week since Monday is a traditionally slower day for business.
Monday is traditionally a blue day in many places in the figurative sense at least, even if the sun is shining. It definitely was not yesterday.
But the adverse weather conditions did not seem to have any dampening effect on people’s enthusiasm for the lottery, said Robert Stanczak, the operator of Westgate Shell. Nobody was really sure what would happen with the adverse weather. Six people were lined up at the gas station at 8 a.m.
Employees at Weber’s kicked off the sale of lottery tickets there before the restaurant even opened for business yesterday morning.
At the snack bar in the County Building all types of people came in a steady stream from 8 a.m. to 2 in the afternoon. Most people bought one or two tickets but one woman got 21 for other people in her office.
“I am all in favor of getting $1 million. Besides it is a good way to make money for the state,” an older married woman told The News when asked why she bought some tickets. She said this was the first time for her at gambling and that she expected to buy two tickets every week, one for her and one for her husband.
The top prize is $1 million. But buyers also have a chance at $200,000, $100,000, S50,000, $10,000, $5,000, $1,000 and $25 prizes.
“I am tired of working so I bought two tickets,” a woman said in the coffee shop of the County Building.
In a short speech, City Councilman John McCormick to no one in particular, said, “We should all buy our share, do our part to all support the state of Michigan.” He bought $10 worth and said he would give some of them to girls in his office.
One student who bought two tickets said he did not gamble much, just an occasional game of cards with penny stakes. He said he probably would not buy lottery tickets on a regular weekly basis.
An older man said “I want to be in on the deal.” He said he played poker occasionally but did not bet on the horses. He planned to buy one ticket a week.
A sheriff’s deputy said he played the horses occasionally and would probably buy one lottery ticket a week.
A young woman said she had been to the race track a few times and planned to buy one lottery ticket a week.
A middle aged man said he knew nothing about the lottery but he would buy a ticket anyway. “I’ve never been lucky before.”
When another man was asked if he would like to buy a lottery ticket he smiled and said he would wait and see what happens. After he was reminded that one ticket is all it takes, he decided to buy one.
Both men and women buy tickets but men seem to buy more, like $1 instead of 50 cents, said Ted Kokenakes of Capitol Market. Sales at the Shell station were reported to be 75 per cent men. Women there were reported to be hesitant and replied that their husbands would buy the tickets.
Sales are expected to be heavy throughout the first week due to the novelty of the lottery. Speculation by managers of various ticket outlets ranged from 25 to 40 per cent dropoff after the first week.
Everybody thinks they’ll win now but after several drawings when they don’t win, it will be interesting to see what dropoff there is in the number of tickets sold, one outlet manager said. The first drawing is Nov. 24.
One man asked if he would get a rebate on a losing ticket.
Elsewhere in the state, many agents, especially those in the Detroit area, reported they sold an entire week’s supply of the 50-cent tickets in the first half-day of business.
The concessionaire in the lobby of Detroit's City-County Building reported selling 1,200 tickets in five hours.
A spokesman at the J. L. Hudson Co. department store in Detroit estimated 50,000 tickets would be sold the first day.
Truck driver Joe Solo plunked down a $100 bill at city hall in Dearborn and asked for 200 tickets. He got them.
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The Inverness Inn at 13996 North Territorial Rd. in Dexter Township is selling Michigan lottery tickets. The establishment was omitted from a list of outlets published previously in The News.